Commander Joe Rainey passed away today, 11-12-2020, more information to follow
Dinner meeting scheduled for Thursday 11-19-2020
HAS BEEN CANCELLED
19 October 2020, Post members gave a presentation on flag etiquette to the American Heritage Girls (AHG).
The AHG Program provides girls with a deeper understanding of their country and heritage. Girls cultivate honor for their country by participating in patriotic events, flag ceremonies, serving in their community, and through badge work. Serving others and being active citizens with their Troop, fosters a lifelong love for their country.
9/11 Memorial & Museum
Email scammers are at it bright and early this morning using our Commanders name to solicit funds. It looks real but remember that we will never ask for donations via email.
DO NOT SEND MONEY, GIFT CARDS OR ANYTHING OF VALUE WITHOUT REALLY KNOWING AND VERIFING THE REQUESTOR.
Sam Higa 7-4-2020
MORNING COLORS at Laguna Woods Clubhouse 1, Pat Burr and Alan Clark
Post members are performing morning and evening colors since staff reductions have taken place due to the covid 19.
2020 Boys State canceled for the first time due to covid 19
NEWS-01: Korean War "Ambassador for Peace Medal."
Submitted by: Bob Mensch, Senator 24th Dist on 3/1/2020
I am pleased to announce that I am working with U.S. Senator Pat Toomey to invite eligible U.S. veterans
to apply for the Korean War "Ambassador for Peace Medal."
The "Ambassador for Peace Medal" was by the government of South Korea and will be awarded
to U.S. veterans in a future presentation ceremony honoring recipients. Eligible U.S. veterans must
complete an application and provide a copy of their DD214 for verification purposes by the Korean
To be eligible, U.S. veterans must have served in Korea at any time during the period of June 25, 1950
through July 27, 1953. U.S. Navy veterans are eligible if their vessel was assigned to Korean waters
during this specific time. UN peacekeeping forces assigned to Korea through December 31 of 1955 are
also eligible. Medals can also be provided posthumously to family members with proper documentation.
Applications are available at my office or by visiting www.senatormensch.com/Korean-peacemedal.
If you need an application to be mailed to you, or if you have questions, please call 215-541-
2388. Completed applications and a copy of your DD214 can be returned to my office or mailed to
the Office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey at 200 Chestnut Street, Suite 600, Philadelphia, PA
19106. The deadline for the application is Friday, April 3, 2020.
Again, if you have any questions, please call 215-541-2388 or email email@example.com. Please
accept my most sincere appreciation to all veterans for their service and contributions.
Senator, 24th District
Majority Caucus Chair
BOYS STATE 2020
Anyone that would like to be a member of the team selecting the delegates for 2020 Boys State please contact Sam Higa 949-216-0883.
For information about Boys State click here
New Commissary Access for Vets and Caregivers
Click here to watch a video of our annual visit to Mary Fay Pendleton School
To Strengthen a Nation 1: Formation of The American Legion
IT'S TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP, THE YEAR ENDED 6-30-2019
DUES ARE STILL ONLY $45 PER YEAR
Meetings are held Clubhouse #1
on the 4th Thursday of each month - main lounge
24323 Calle Aragon
Laguna Woods, CA 92637
PO BOX 2246
LAGUNA HILLS, CA 92654
In a significant legislative victory for The American Legion, President Trump signed a bill July 30 that declares the United States has been in a state of war since Dec. 7, 1941.
The American Legion sought the declaration as a way to honor approximately 1,600 U.S. servicemembers who were killed or wounded during previously undeclared periods of war.
The LEGION Act (Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service Act) also opens the door for approximately 6 million veterans to access American Legion programs and benefits for which they previously had not been eligible.
“Recognizing the service of these wartime veterans is the right thing do and it is long overdue,” National Commander Brett Reistad said. “The families of those who were killed or wounded during these wartime acts should take pride in knowing that we recognize their sacrifice and service. Moreover, we are proud to welcome any of the six million living veterans from the previously unrecognized periods into our organization and call them ‘Legionnaires.’”
Now that the legislation has been signed, The American Legion’s eligibility criteria immediately changes from seven war eras to two: April 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918, and Dec. 7, 1941 to a time later determined by the federal government. No other restrictions to American Legion membership are changed.
The law’s journey began on Feb. 14 when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., introduced S. 504, along with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. A companion measure, H.R. 1641, was introduced in the House by Reps. Lou Correa, D-Calif., and Ben Cline, R-Va.
Reistad expressed gratitude to the bipartisan members of Congress for passing the legislation.
“We are grateful that President Trump fully acknowledges the importance of The American Legion by signing the LEGION Act in the White House today – just one week after it passed the House of Representatives,” Reistad said. “In an era of partisan gridlock, Republicans and Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly recognized the importance of allowing thousands of honorable but previously ineligible veterans the right to join the largest and most influential veterans organization in the country.”
Reistad pointed out that existing American Legion membership applications are in the process of being updated but can still be used. “In the meantime, I recommend that prospective Legionnaires and recruiters write ‘LEGION Act’ in the eligibility date section of American Legion membership applications if they fall outside the previous war eras,” Reistad said. “The larger pool of veterans now eligible for The American Legion will also open their family members to eligibility in the Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary as well.”
Dr. Dung Trinh's video from Vietnam.
Dr. Trinh (Igge) is our member , retired from family practice , is the Chief Medical Officer at Irvine Clinical Research and CEO of Tongueout. See what he does in his spare time.
San Joaquin Elenentary School Graduation Awards Ceremony
2019 BOYS STATE DELEGATES WITH PARENTS
(L-R)Seth Whitacker (Laguna Hills), Sam Higa, Desmond Roberts (EL Toro)
Shannon Buhrmaster (STEP), Sam Higa(Post 257) Tony Teravainen (CEO STEP), and Vince Howley (Post 257)
STEP CEO Tony Teravainen receives a $2,500 donation From American Legion Post 257.
NEW MENU ITEM- BOOKS WRITTEN BY MEMBERS (at the left)
FREE CONSULTATION FOR BRAIN HEALTH AND ALZHEIMERS
Dr Trinh is a Post member and spoke at our April dinner meeting, many members have been evaluated by Dr Trinh. His consultation is FREE.
Apply for an Honor Flight
Honor Flight Network recognizes American veterans for your sacrifices and achievements by flying you to Washington, D.C. to see YOUR memorial at no cost. Top priority is given to World War II and terminally ill veterans from all wars.
Honor Flight Network has expanded to include Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. In order for Honor Flight Network to achieve this goal, guardians fly with the veterans on every flight providing assistance and helping veterans have a safe, memorable and rewarding experience.
For what you and your comrades have given to us, please consider this a small token of appreciation from all of us at Honor Flight Network.
If you are a Veteran and would like to experience an Honor Flight at no cost to you, please complete the application at left.
If you know of someone who is a World War II veteran or a veteran with a terminal illness, please fill out an application and send it in on their behalf. And remember, every veteran flies free.
For More Information
For further information, please contact us at 937-521-2400 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Honor Flight San Diego website is http://www.honorflightsandiego.org/
KOREAN AMERICAN CLUB HONORS KOREAN WAR VETERANS 7 JUNE 2018
ON-LINE PX PRIVILEGES FOR ALL VETERANS
Eff. 11/01/2017: All honorably Discharged veterans (don't have to be retired) are now eligible for On-line PX purchases- but no commissary privileges. Sign up online: "shop exchange.com"
Hit "Register" on top right hand corner of website to enter your
Username & password. It might take time to register this way.
If veteran has access to a military base, they can sign up by going to customer service counter at their PX/Commissary - a lot faster.
They cannot purchase at the PX/Commissary- only online.
If they get a "Star" Credit Card through the PX, they get free shipping for orders over $49.00. Also - purchases thru online is "tax free" !
Call Jim Woodin if any questions at (949) 830-8402
POST 257 HONORS FIREFIGHTERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
Russ Smith (center) with Firefighter of the year Jeremy Bart (right)
Law Enforcement Officer Award 2018
Orange County Sheriff Department Investigator Rick Olszynski (third from left). Currently assigned to Laguna Woods and Aliso Viejo. Recently solved residential burglary of a Laguna Woods resident consisting of valuable camera equipment. Rick served honorably in the United States Marine Corps before joining the Sheriff’s Department in 1999.
American Legion Post 257 and Saddleback Kiwanis visit Mary Fay Pendleton School to give gift certificates to the teachers for additional classroom supplies.
Student Guides led us to 20 classrooms, each classroom had a greeter to greet us.
Trauma Dolls made by Kiwanians are delivered to the California Highway Patrol, the dolls are given to children when they are involved in a traumatic situation such as a traffic addident to calm the children.
American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan visited District 29 on December 11, 2017. She was honored with a dinner at which a number of local dignitaries were present. The dinner was held at the banquet hall of Post 132, Orange CA.
Bill Price, Commander of American Legion 257 in Laguna Woods, stands in front of the full scale
model of the Voyager 1 space craft on display at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in La Canada,
CA. that is currently heading into interstellar space. Bill is a retired physicist and worked on
radiation testing of all systems of the spacecraft to "harden" the electronics against the high
energy radiation fields at Jupiter during his career at JPL before his retirement in 1979. Bill was
part of a tour hosted by the Chicago Club, a Laguna Woods social club on Wednesday December 6th to
JPL that involved a 20 minute overview of the space program and its history, tours of the space
craft museum, the space craft assembly bay and finally Mission Control. It was a wonderful day
capped by talking with Bill about his experiences. Bill’s name was placed on the Voyager along with
all who worked on the program so somewhere in deep Interstellar space, the name William Price will
By Ron Kula
Post Member Dr. Dung "Iggy" Trinh is interviewed on Village Television about Alzheimers Disease. Click on the link below for the youtube video.
2017 BOY/GIRLS STATE DELEGATES
Kelly Dang (Mission Viejo), Varsha Nair (Trabuco Hills), Celine Wherritt (Laguna Hills), Evan Noce (El Toro), Christopher Cross (Laguna Hills), and Nicholas Hembree (El Toro)
The Boys and Girls State Delegates, each outstanding in achedemics, athletics and community service, gave the Post a talk about their experience at Boys and Girls State. They learned and experienced how the state government operates from the local to state level. They had the opportunity to run and campaign for elected offices. They were competing with other equally talented delegates which was described as intimidating. The Post is proud to have sponsored these truly outstanding young Ameicans.
BACK FROM HOUSTON
Dr. Dung Trinh (front row 2nd from right) member of Post 257 returns from Houston with team of volunteers.
Story from the OC Register (click here)
CHAPLIN RAY FICO
Services for Ray will be held at Mt. Olive Cemetary, 1625 Gisele Ave, Costa Mesa 92626 on Tuesday September 12 at 11:00 AM. No other details are available at this time.
99TH AMERICAN LEGION CONVENTION
American Legion Post 257 Commander, Bill Price, attended this year’s National Convention in Reno, Nevada, held August 18 to 24th 2017. There were delegates representing every state in the union. There were Color Guard contests and many committee meetings to discuss issues of importance to the Legion. There was a parade on Sunday with the delegates from each state wearing identical colored t-shirts. The California delegation wore red. The viewing stand had the Top legion officers and some dignitaries. As each unit passed the viewing stand all members gave an “Eyes Right” and a salute.
President Trump was at the convention and gave a well-received address about veterans’ benefits. Immediately after the address he signed the “The Veterans Appeals and Modernization Act” on stage.
The American Legion National Commander for the new year was elected. It is Denise Rohan of Wisconsin, the first woman to be so honored. There were a number of dignitaries at the Convention. We were addressed by Senator Ted Cruz, who was given an Award for his work helping the Legion win a court battle over keeping safe war Memorials which contain religious symbols. Other Awards and speeches too numerous to mention here were given. All in all, it was a busy time. Next year’s Convention will be the 100th. It will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the very first American Legion Convention was held.
American Legion Post 327 and Auxillary of Leisure World Seal Beach held a pancake breakfast trying to raise $4,000 to help Veterans. Seated Veteran at lower left collecting tickets claims to be 94 years old. I mentioned that our bugler yas 96.
SADDLEBACK KIWANIS MEETING ON MONDAY 21 AUGUST2017
The speaker next Monday would be a great one for the Legion to hear. The speaker will be Linda Jeffries of the Orange County Rescue Mission in Tustin. She will be showing a video of their work with the homeless of Orange County. She will also be talking about a new shelter for homeless veterans called the Tustin Outpost.
They also have a ranch for alcoholic vets called the Mustard Seed Ranch near Temecula. It would probably be a great program for the American Legion. Lunch is $10, meeting starts at 11:45. Call or email Jim Burge at 949 830 9120 or email@example.com for reservations.
4th of July at Laguna Woods
New Commander Bill Price and Councilman Joe Rainey
BILL PRICE ELECTED POST COMMANDER FOR FY 2018
Bill Price was nominated and elected and agreed to the Post Commander for the 2018 fiscal year 2018 beginning on July 1, 2017. Vanda Bresnan will continue to serve as Post Adjuntant.
From left, Director of Volunteer Services Julia Lieberman, Saddleback Memorial Foundation President Cecilia Belew, Vince Howley, and volunteer Russell Smith.
Gifts to the Foundation come in all shapes and sizes, even in the shape of a wheelchair! On June 8, Vince Howley, medical aids coordinator for American Legion Post 257 in Laguna Woods, donated a brand-new wheelchair for Escort & Messenger volunteers. The wheelchair will be used to transport patients around the hospital. We are so grateful for this wonderful contribution that will benefit our patients. Thank you so much to Vince Howley and American Legion Post 257!
Olivewood Elementary School Graduation 2017
June 16, 2017 Post Commander Vanda Bresnan presented American Legion School Awards medals and certificates to outstanding students that prepared essays on the meaning of the American Flag. The winners read their essays along with other students. They were very well done.
Five other students were awarded President's Education Awards Program certificates signed by President Trump and Seceretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The students and parents were equally thrilled when the students received their arards and graduation diplomas. It was a pleasure to see such well behaved students and courteous parents and guests. It was a credit to the principal, Eva Neuer, and the the teachers for their outstanding work.
Wayne Yost, Dana Point VFW Post 9934 and Sam Higa American Legion Post 257 at Trader Joes in Aliso Viejo
NATIONAL POPPY DAY
MAY 26, 2017
Legion Family flower of remembrance
The poppy flower adorned the battlefields of Flanders Field in France during World War I, and was looked upon by those serving as a living symbol of their fallen comrades’ sacrifices. In 1920 after World War I, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion Family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war, and distribution of poppies became a Legion national program in 1924. To this day, thanks in large part to the American Legion Auxiliary, the poppy is nationally recognized and worn as a symbol of sacrifice made by the men and women who served and died for their country during a time of war.
Tony Teravainen, President and CEO, of Support the Enlisted Project (STEP) is presented a $1,000 donation from Post 257 Service Office/Quartermaster. STEP's mission is building financial self-sufficiency with our young military, veterans and their families through financial counseling, emergency grants and other support programs.
See https://www.stepsocal.org/ for more information about STEP.
2017 GIRLS STATE DELEGATES
In the photo from left to right: Pat Burr, Girls State Chairman; Varsha Nair, Trabuco Hills H. S.; Celine Wherritt, Laguna Hills H. S.; Kelly Dang, Mission Viejo H. S.; Vanda Bresnan, Post 257 Commander.
|The meaning of a draped coffin
All Americans should be given this lesson. Those who think that America is
an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought. Our
founding fathers used GOD's word and teachings to establish our
Great Nation and I think it's high time Americans get re-educated
about this Nation's history.
Pass it along and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to
protect our 'GOD GIVEN' rights and freedoms.
I hope you take the time to read this ... To understand what the flag draped coffin
really means ... Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon it and is surrendered
to so many widows and widowers.
Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the
numbers in the year 1776?
Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the
United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies,
but we learn something new every day!
The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.
The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.
The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a
portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.
The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it
is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, 'Our Country,
in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.'
The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge
allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America , and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation
under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they
protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.
The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death,
that we might see the light of day.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their
faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women
who have made this country great has been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and
daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon
and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes,
God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding
them of their nations motto, 'In God We Trust.'
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a
cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington,
and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades
and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.
There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning.
In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.
Share this with the children you love and all others who love what is referred to, the
symbol of ' Liberty and Freedom.'
MAYBE THE SUPREME COURT SHOULD READ THIS EXPLANATION BEFORE THEY RENDER THEIR
DECISION ON THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.
FORWARD IT; MAYBE SOMEONE WITH THE NECESSARY POWER, OR POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL
INFLUENCE, WILL GET IT TO THEM.
IN THE MEANTIME, MAY GOD PROTECT US ALWAYS.
ONE NATION, UNDER GOD, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.
Lou Tirado with SALUTE TO THOSE WHO SERVE award from the Anaheim Ducks. Base is a hockey puck and the plexiglass is from the stadium.
ANNUAL DONATION TO MARY FAY PENDLETON SCHOOL
Wednesday December 14, 2016 Post members Joe Rainey, Sam Higa and Mara Hodgkins visited Mary Fay Pendleton School to deliver $2,000 in gift cards to the teachers to buy additional supplies for the classrooms.
The school is for students from K-8 and includes four special needs classes. The teachers greatly appreciate the ability to purchase items that they not supplied. Many of the parents are currently depolyed for extended periods of time, some for a year or more. This is one of the most rewarding activities of the Post as we visit each classroom and get a brief view how they are being taught, they truly have a truly dedicated staff as evidenced by the students behavior and enthusiasm.
Normally we split into two groups and have an opportunity to talk to the teachers and students and answer questions from the students. For more photos from previous visits click on the PHOTO GALLERY
tab. If anyone would like to participate in the future please contact Jim Shaffer.
Click on the above link to read the article, Ron Kula is a member of American Legion Post 257
“Veteran Honor Ride”
Sunday, November 6, 2016, the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army and the American Legion Post 716 Family proudly presented the Second Annual Veterans Honor Ride (motorcycle rally), saluting our Nation’s Veterans. This year, the organizers changed the route of the ride to include passing the WW II Submarine Memorial. Ed Arnold contacted the Sea Cadets and 70 of them “Manned the Rail” outside the main gate and saluted the riders as they rode past. The Orange County Register and The Los Angeles Times graciously donated considerable space with lengthy articles and lots of photos. Many thanks for their publicity! The proceeds of the event benefiting the Military and Veterans Resource Center at the Joint Forces training Base, Los Alamitos. The center is the "go to" location for the delivery of benefits to our local military community. The center provides assistance to more than 1,500 Troops, Veterans, and their family members each month. Members of all branches of the service who enter the facility can get assistance including: emergency financial support, employment, education, finances, V A support, legal assistance, and healthcare. These services are available before, during, and after unit deployments. After 15 years of protracted fighting, our Veterans and their families are in need of our help - The Center is an essential provider of that support.
Note: Post 257 has made donations supporting the Joint Forces Training Base.
VETERANS DAY CEREMONY AT THE MEMORIAL STONE
The Veterans Day ceremony was held at the Memorial Stone for the first time in many years. It was a beautiful warm morning for the guests that attended. Guest speakers included Village and city officials and our own Lou Tirado who talked about his flying with the Army Air Corp ias a belly gunner on a B17. Lou was shot down over Germany and spent time in a POW camp. Lou is still our Master at Arms and bugler.
Veteran's Wheel Chair Drive 2016 was a great success. Several of our American Legion members were able to obtain 9 brand new wheel chairs and one walker from the Knights of Columbus in Lake Forest on Saturday. Thanks to Joe Rainey, Mara Hodgkins, Vanda and Mike Bresman, Joann Kilian and Vince Howley. Two of the wheel chairs and 3 walkers have been given to Veterans since Saturday. If you have a need call Vince Howley at 949-842-4069.
Letter from 2016 Boys State delegate from Laguna Hills High School
I genuinely want to thank you as well as The American Legion Post 257 for the wonderful opportunity to attend Boy’s State. Chandler and I both had several amazing experiences at our states capital, whether it was meeting our assemblyman or learning the ins and outs of our local, county and state government. While there I ran for the county level position of tax assessor. I took several speech classes in preparation for my campaign and had the opportunity to deliver my speech to over 250 people. This was a phenomenal experience for me due to the profound amount of skill that I obtained in order to make other speeches in the future. I was successfully elected as my county’s tax collector and assessor allowing me to work directly with our elected governor and be exposed to many new ideas and face even more learning opportunities. Aside from the food Chandler and I agree that Boy’s State had absolutely zero negative aspects and we are proud to vouch for the legitimacy of the program and what it can do for anyone who is interested in politics. The program had the perfect blend of camaraderie as well as actual work in order to ensure that every individual there had a good experience and was able to make lifelong friends. Many people that I met at Boy’s State will be my friends for years to come.
Again I appreciate the opportunity that you gave me by designating me as one of the representatives to attend Boys State. This has truly been a wonderful experience that I will remember for a lifetime.
Robin Williams as the American Flag …
Williams was 31 when this video was made!
This clip made in ...1982, a different world …
Post 257 Color Guard at 2016 Aquadettes Show
It looks like we did some good after all! On Saturday, July 24th, 2010 the town of Prescott Valley, AZ, hosted a Freedom Rally. Quang Nguyen was asked to speak on his experience of coming to America and what it means. He spoke the following in dedication to all Vietnam Veterans. Thought you might enjoy hearing what he had to say: 35 years ago, if you were to tell me that I am going to stand up here speaking to a couple thousand patriots, in English, I'd laugh at you. Man, every morning I wake up thanking God for putting me and my family in the greatest country on earth. I just want you all to know that the American dream does exist and I am living the American dream. I was asked to speak to you about my experience as a first generation Vietnamese-American, but I'd rather speak to you as an American. If you hadn't noticed, I am not white and I feel pretty comfortable with my people. I am a proud U.S. citizen and here is my proof. It took me 8 years to get it, waiting in endless lines, but I got it, and I am very proud of it. I still remember the images of the Tet offensive in 1968, I was six years old. Now you might want to question how a 6-year-old boy could remember anything. Trust me, those images can never be erased. I can't even imagine what it was like for young American soldiers, 10,000 miles away from home, fighting on my behalf. 35 years ago, I left South Vietnam for political asylum. The war had ended. At the age of 13, I left with the under- standing that I may or may not ever get to see my siblings or parents again. I was one of the first lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed to come to the U.S. Somehow, my family and I were reunited 5 months later, amazingly, in California. It was a miracle from God. If you haven't heard lately that this is the greatest country on earth, I am telling you that right now. It was the freedom and the opportunities presented to me that put me here with all of you tonight. I also remember the barriers that I had to overcome every step of the way. My high school counselor told me that I cannot make it to college due to my poor communication skills. I proved him wrong. I finished college. You see, all you have to do is to give this little boy an opportunity and encourage him to take and run with it. Well, I took the opportunity and here I am. This person standing tonight in front of you could not exist under a socialist / communist environment. By the way, if you think socialism is the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in to get you a one-way ticket out of here. And if you didn't know, the only difference between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your head. That was my experience. In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and listening to the National Anthem for the first time as an American. To this day, I can't remember anything sweeter and more patriotic than that moment in my life. Fast forwarding, somehow I finished high school, finished college, and like any other goofball 21 year old kid, I was having a great time with my life. I had a nice job and a nice apartment in Southern California. In some way and some- how, I had forgotten how I got here and why I was here. One day I was at a gas station, I saw a veteran pumping gas on the other side of the island. I don't know what made me do it, but I walked over and asked if he had served in Viet- nam. He smiled and said yes. I shook and held his hand. The grown man began to well up. I walked away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was emotionally rocked. This was a profound moment in my life. I knew something had to change in my life. It was time for me to learn how to be a good citizen. It was time for me to give back. You see, America is not just a place on the map, it isn't just a physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an American, you must understand the concept, you must accept this concept, and most importantly, you have to fight and defend this concept. This is about Freedom and not free stuff. And that is why I am standing up here. Brothers and sisters, to be a real American, the very least you must do is to learn English and understand it well. In my humble opinion, you cannot be a faithful patriotic citizen if you can't speak the language of the country you live in. Take this document of 46 pages - last I looked on the Internet, there wasn't a Vietnamese translation of the U.S. Constitution. It took me a long time to get to the point of being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come up with the right words. It's not easy, but if it's too easy, it's not worth doing. Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the 500,000 Americans who fought for this little boy. I learned of the 58,000 names scribed on the black wall at the Vietnam Memorial. You are my heroes. You are my founders. At this time, I would like to ask all the Vietnam veterans to please stand. I thank you for my life. I thank you for your sacrifices, and I thank you for giving me the freedom and liberty I have today. I now ask all veterans, firefighters, and police officers, to please stand. On behalf of all first generation immigrants, I thank you for your services and may God bless you all.
Quang Nguyen Creative Director/Founder Caddis Advertising, LLC "God Bless America " "One Flag, One Language, One Nation Under God"
For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible. --
Thanks to Paul Riggs for the article.
Blind or losing your eye sight? Click here to read more
Since our charter in 1967, our American Legion Post has been welcoming veterans from all branches of our Armed Forces. Today we continue to welcome all military personnel serving our country. Joining our Post enables you to continue serving your God, County, and Community. Our mission is to implement the goals, aspirations, dreams, peace, and blessings for our country, friends, and families.
Help us to continue to support financially worthy community programs and projects.